Ircam has designed the soundtrack for the exhibition “Loading, l’art urbain à l’ère numérique” at the Grand Palais Immersif

An exhibition to be seen and heard through to 21 July 2024

In the 20th century, urban art became a widespread feature on many city walls. Public buildings became a choice canvas for self-expression, to create, exhibit and appropriate art that defined itself on the fringe of officialdom. With the rise of the Internet, followed by social media, street art has undergone a revolution, forging a new relationship between artists and the city.

The exhibition “Loading. L’art urbain à l’ère numérique” (Loading: Urban Art in the Digital Era) tells the story of urban art and showcases the impact of digital production and broadcasting technology on the work of artists on this scene. The exhibition unfolds in the monumental Grand Palais Immersif, which echoes these urban artistic creations and serves as a 360° screen for them.

Visitors will discover all the facets of urban art, via digital experiences, magnificently set to the music of composer Roque Rivas, who designed the soundtrack of the exhibition with Ircam. For each of the exhibition rooms, Ircam has developed a listening and sound system which highlights the medium on which the urban artworks were produced as well as their environment. 

For the large exhibition hall, Roque Rivas designed and created six original pieces of music with sound engineer Oscar Ferran. These pieces form a fairly eclectic array of styles ranging from jazz through to latter-day electronic music, not forgetting hip-hop. Each piece has been composed in direct relation with the pace of the exhibition, the showcasing of the images, and their deployment throughout the hall. They also dovetail with various musical citations, selected by Roque Rivas, exhibition curator Christian Omodeo, and project co-producer Mehdi Mejri (Atlas V). The citations fit in with the nature of the works and artists on show in the exhibition, as well as with their historical and geographical context.

Several types of technology have been deployed to produce sound spatial effects, with a view to ramping up the intensity of the immersive experience as much as possible. Ircam’s Spat Révolution software has been used to play musical extracts initially obtained in stereo. City sounds, the voices of children playing in the street, the rumble of underground trains, the sea and the wind all add to the sound experience in this expansive space. Lastly, there was a vast undertaking to reconfigure voices from video extracts using AI algorithms.

As for the sounds created for the “Legacy Tunnel”, the design featured music from various eras and in various styles, woven together to take visitors on a journey through time. The music used for the Tunnel ranges from the early 20th century (Bozo Texino) through to the early 1970s (Oreste Nannetti). And the area was fitted with a larger sound system (the length of the corridor) to reinforce the impression of being inside a tunnel.

For a sneak preview of the exhibition, you can listen to some extracts from the soundtrack (playlist at the end of this article)!

Exhibition « Loading, l’art urbain à l’ère numérique » (Loading: Urban Art in thee Digital Era)
From 6 December 2023 to 21 July 2024
At Grand Palais Immersif
110 rue de Lyon, 75012 Paris

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    Loading. L'art urbain à l'ère numérique
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    Loading. L'art urbain à l'ère numérique
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    Loading. L'art urbain à l'ère numérique